A love offering for marriage equality
Written by The Rev. J. Bennett Guess
March 26, 2013
A Love Offering for Marriage Equality, U.S. Supreme Court
(An occasion-specific paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
Interfaith Service of Love and Justice
Church of the Reformation, Washington, D.C.
If I speak like I know everything, like the world revolves around me, but I don’t love, I am nothing but a fool at a microphone.
If I can talk about The Scriptures, and preach better than all the other preachers, and get everybody and their sister coming back to church, but I don’t embrace love, then I’m just a silly dude in a robe.
If I give away all my best stuff, and have all the “Rev. Dr. This and Thats” in front of my name, but I can’t recognize love, then I haven’t learned a thing.
Because love, she is amazing. Love is relentless. Love is extra-generous.
Love looks out for the interests of other people, not just one’s own self.
Love doesn’t reserve rights and privileges just for some. Love doesn’t promote hierarchies, to the expense of equality, because love just doesn’t think that way. Love doesn’t work that way.
Love doesn’t hurt people. And love never leaves people out.
No … Love goes all the way. Love removes every obstacle. Love appeals to the highest court in the land, when necessary.
Love gets up really early in the morning, after having stayed up really late the night before.
That’s how love is. Love always does the right thing, even when it’s hard. Love is fair and just, extravagant and wasteful. Love can never be depleted.
Now as for long speeches and oral arguments and amicus briefs, they’ll play themselves out. And fanatics can cry, ”Surely the world will come to an end!” and they, too, have their rights. But your loved one’s embrace at the end of a hard day? … The dreams you share … The plans you’ve made … The inside jokes … The kisses goodnight … Till death do you part. That will never pass away.
When I was a scared, uncertain, disempowered gay person, I thought and reasoned like a scared, uncertain, disempowered gay person. I thought this day could never come. But now, I’ve put all that behind me, every limiting thought.
Yes, we see through murky waters. We’re trying to discern every 5 to 4; 6 to 3; 9-to-nothing scenario. But the day is surely coming, when we will be seen, and see each other, as God sees us — through love, because God is love.
We have a lot of things to sustain us in this life. There’s that quirky optimism that, with God, all things work together for good. And there’s always hope, and hope never disappoints. And that’s all nice. But most importantly, we’ve got this big, expansive, inclusive love. Love! And isn’t that the greatest thing? Isn’t it?
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the United Church of Christ's Local Church Ministries and member of the denomination’s five-person Collegium of Officers, offered this prayer in Washington, D.C., in support of marriage equality. He spoke during an interfaith prayer service before Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality.